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In 2012, my wife and I had a few money decisions to make as we combined our finances upon getting married. The first topic of conversation was merging our bank accounts. My wife had always had an account with BB&T, while I had left BB&T for Wells Fargo.
I left BB&T in college because of a negative experience that I can’t remember for the life of me. All I know is I was fuming as I closed the bank account in person.
I’m sure they really didn’t care. I had a grand total of $252 in my account. They handed me my money, and I went down the street to Wells Fargo since a friend banked there.
My wife was really hoping to move me back towards BB&T because she liked the bankers who worked at our local branch. Plus, the local branch was walking distance from our home. However, I figured this was the perfect time to re-evaluate our banking situation to see what our best option was.
Many people shy away from switching bank accounts. In fact, according to a survey conducted for Bankrate and MONEY, 14% of Americans believe it is too much of a hassle to do so.
When I started to peruse through the various online bank accounts available, I found some terrific options. However, at the time, my wife and I were heavily leaning towards a brick-and-mortar bank.
Moving to a Completely Different Bank
After narrowing down our options, we decided to join Navy Federal Credit Union. We had heard great reviews from friends. Thanks to my in-law’s military service, we were eligible to bank there.
We have been really happy thus far, but of course it took some work to move everything over. First, we had to make sure direct deposit was synced up to the new account. That was an important detail! Secondly, I had to make sure each and every bank-draft bill was updated. I lost a little bit of sleep during that process because I was terrified to receive an overdraft bill from one I stupidly forgot to update.
Recently, I found out that I did a ton of extra work for no reason.
Ever heard of a Switch Kit?
Here is a quick example from NFCU below:
A switch kit is a free service that allows you to close an account with another bank and transfer the funds to your new bank account. It also switches your direct deposit and any automatic payments from your old account to your new account, making your life that much easier.
If switching bank accounts is now that easy, why not do so?
According to the aforementioned survey, the average adult in the U.S. has used the same primary checking account for 16 years. More than 25% of Americans keep a checking account for more than 20 years, with seniors 65+ keeping a checking account for 26 years on average. 3% of survey respondents have used the same account for more than 50 years.
Of course, if you like your bank and are receiving great benefits, why move? A majority of checking account holders (63%) are able to avoid paying any fees. However, the survey found that, on average, a checking account customer pays $14 a month in fees, specifically ATM, overdraft, and routine service fees.
Why is that?
Out of network ATM withdrawal fees for 2017, inched up to almost $5 a withdrawal. Meanwhile, overdraft fees costed over $33 per incident, according to a 2017 Bankrate checking account survey.
Millennials are most likely to pay checking fees, with 28% reporting that they pay more than $26 per month, on average. Even worse, the average low-income American (defined as making less than $30,000 a year) pays charges of $31 month.
Additionally, only 38% of banks offer free checking accounts. Meanwhile, 61% of banks offer free checking accounts if customers utilize direct deposits in their accounts.
Today, banks are fighting for customers by providing free money incentives for opening bank accounts. Why not take some time to figure out if you should upgrade your bank account today?
I highlighted a couple just to show you some offers out there. And no, I won’t receive any compensation if you click on them.